National Honey Monitoring Scheme: Forage behaviour of UK honeybees 2018 onwards, as shown by plant DNA barcoding

The scheme aims to monitor how the foraging habits of UK honeybees respond to a changing environment. Further, if these changes can be used to provide information on the health of our countryside. It is the first UK-wide analysis of its kind, and uses DNA barcoding techniques to identify traces of pollen in honey. The sequence data has been generated - Oliver, Anna E.; Newbold, Lindsay K.; Gweon, Hyun S.; Read, Daniel S.; Woodcock, Ben A.; Pywell, Richard F.. 2021 Integration of DNA extraction, metabarcoding and an informatics pipeline to underpin a national citizen science honey monitoring scheme. MethodsX, 8, 101303. 7, pp. – for 2018 to 2020 but is being worked on for publication purposes. For publication sequence data will need to be made publically available, so will be uploaded to GenBank (Benson DA, Cavanaugh M, Clark K, Karsch-Mizrachi I, Lipman DJ, Ostell J, Sayers EW. GenBank. Nucleic Acids Res. 2013 Jan;41(Database issue):D36-42. doi: 10.1093/nar/gks1195. Epub 2012 Nov 27. PMID: 23193287; PMCID: PMC3531190).

Individual participants have already had their personal data provided to them (for 2018 and 2019; 2020 will follow shortly) via the NHMS website ( These are not raw data, counts or sequence FASTA files. We provide the relative abundance of the top plant taxa found within their honey samples as well as a complete list of taxa found. Individual data will not not publicly available due to participant confidentiality.

NB: This dataset is currently being generated and is expected to become available in April 2022

Data acquisition was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) under research programme NE/N018125/1 ASSIST – Achieving Sustainable Agricultural Systems ASSIST is an initiative jointly supported by NERC and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).


Study area

Correspondence/contact details

UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Maclean Building, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford
OX10 8BB

Additional metadata

ASSIST,  Barcoding Designing future farmed landscapes DNA barcoding,  Forage,  Honey Honeybees,  HoneyPI,  Managing the impacts of farming on the environment Metabarcoding,  National Honey Monitoring Scheme,  Plant diversity Pollen,  Pollination Pollinators,  WP2
Natural Environment Research Council
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Last updated
03 August 2021 08:27